Governor, First Lady Justice celebrate West Virginia’s 161st Birthday, announce winner of Hot Dog Sauce Contest, unveil Arthur I. Boreman Statue

WEST VIRGINIA — Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice participated in several West Virginia Day events, taking them from the State Capitol in Charleston to Independence Hall in Wheeling, commemorating the state’s 161st birthday.

“I’m honored to celebrate West Virginia’s 161st birthday surrounded by so many great people,” Gov. Justice said. “We have so much to be proud of in the Mountain State. The world is catching on to all the greatness West Virginia offers. It truly is the greatest state to live, work, and raise a family. I am beyond proud of what we have accomplished together, and I know the future for West Virginia will be just as bright.” 
Gov. Justice and First Lady Justice opened the morning with a dedication for the four new murals in the Capitol rotunda, which depict iconic state scenes and landmarks from West Virginia’s rich history, including the Battle of Philippi, the Shiveree of Seneca Rock, Harpers Ferry in 1859, and the West Virginia State Seal.

Additional murals are being installed to fill the four pendentive spaces. The remaining murals are expected to be completed by November 2024.
“Our State Capitol is already one of the most stunning in the nation, and today, with these new murals, it’s even more beautiful,” Gov. Justice said. “I’ve always said that the arts are at the heart and soul of West Virginia—they’re a part of who we are. These beautiful murals tell our story, showcasing our rich history and what makes our state truly special.”
Click here to see more photos of the completed murals
During the ceremony, West Virginia Ambassadors campers sang the National Anthem and West Virginia Hills. Cabell Midland High School student Brody Hammers also played a rendition of Take Me Home, Country Roads on the piano.
First Lady Justice announced the winner of her West Virginia Birthday Hot Dog Sauce Contest during today’s celebration, which moved to the West Virginia Culture Center following the mural dedication. 

Paige Toney of Grantsville was named the grand prize winner with her recipe, ‘Calhoun Band Booster.’ Paige, along with Jackie Blankenship, the former Band Director for Calhoun County High School, used their recipe for decades to raise funds for the school band.
“Our hot dog sauce contest had a tremendous response,” First Lady Cathy Justice said. “I mean what’s more West Virginian than a great tasting chili to put on your hot dog? There were some really unique recipes along with more “original” chili recipes and they were fun to read through. I hope everyone enjoys the hot dogs, punch, and cake today!”

Also in attendance were the West Virginia Hot Dog Guys — Jay Silverman and Joel Bennett, who have traveled across the state to find the best West Virginia-style hot dogs.

Gov. Jim Justice awarded a proclamation to the WV Hot Dog Guys, declaring July the West Virginia Hot Dog Month, encouraging everyone to go on their journey to businesses across the state in search of the best hot dog recipes. 
As part of the West Virginia Day festivities, First Lady Justice ceremoniously cut the official West Virginia Blackberry Walnut cake and served it alongside the signature Mountain Mama fruit punch. Attendees also had the opportunity to sign an extra-large West Virginia Birthday Card on display.
Toney won a $500 gift card and was awarded an honorary first-place certificate for taking home the prize.  ‘Calhoun Band Booster’ was selected as the best among three outstanding chili recipes that were finalists in the contest.

All hot dog chili recipe finalists were taste-tested by the First Lady, Gov. Jim Justice, Chief of Staff to the First Lady Vicki Shannon, Liaison to the First Lady Joslyn Barnhart, WV Governor’s Mansion Executive Chef K.D. Jones, Cabinet Secretary Randall Reid-Smith, and other staff members.
Those who submitted recipes and were selected as the second and third prize winners also received prizes of a $300 and $100 gift card.

Second Place Winner:
Smiley Face Chili
Selina Burke | Charleston, WV

Third Place Winner:
Homestead Venison Maple Medley
Miriam Weber | Green Bank, WV

All finalist recipes will soon be posted to First Lady Cathy Justice’s Facebook page.
To conclude the day, ​​Gov. Justice participated in a dedication ceremony at West Virginia Independence Hall for the unveiling of a statue honoring the first chief executive of West Virginia, Governor Arthur I. Boreman. 
Boreman served from 1863 to 1869 and was pivotal in guiding the new state through the tumultuous Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

There was plenty of controversy at that time, as President Abraham Lincoln declared West Virginia’s statehood in 1863 — a decision that sparked debate over its constitutionality due to the ongoing war and the unique circumstances of its separation from Virginia.
The statue serves as a poignant reminder of the state’s unique and storied history, honoring West Virginia’s first leader and celebrating his enduring legacy in shaping the state’s identity.

“Today is such a great day for all West Virginians, and I hope everyone had a chance to celebrate accordingly,” Gov. Justice said. “We are so blessed to have four incredible seasons and the greatest people on the planet. It’s been a real honor to be your Governor. Thank you for all you do, West Virginia.”